Council of Ephesus

  • Took place at Ephesus in Asia Minor in 431
  • Early Christians in East Syria and Mesopotamia did not accept Mary as Theotokos
  • These Christians were known as The Church of the East and were recognized for their teaching that Christ was two separate people and are joined by a loose union
  • This meant that Mary was not the mother of God
  • Nestorius taught about theories similar to this and this sparked the need for the Council in order to dispel any misconceptions about Mary’s role in the birth of Jesus
Emperor Theodosius II

Emperor Theodosius II, a strong, scholarly Roman leader who called the Council at the request of Nestorius (he wanted to prove himself)


Nestorius, leader who taught about the two persons in Christ theory or Nestorianism

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria who disagreed with Nestorius

Theotokos vs. Christotokos

  • Theotokos: Mary is the birth-giver to God
  • Christotokos: Mary is the birth-giver to Christ
Council of Ephesus
  • Conflict with Cyril and Nestorius
  • Neither of them agreed and fought over what should be determined Church teaching
  • The Theory of Theotokos- states that Mary is truly the Mother of God
  • Cyril and John of Antioch signed an imperial rescript
  • It declared that all bishops return home and Nestorius and Cyril would be placed under arrest until a decision was made
  • Bishops and Cyril both fought to prove their point but in the end, the Council determined that Mary is the Theotokos and it was incorporated into actual Church teaching

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